family at The Butchart Gardens

10 things to do in Victoria this May

From fragrant gardens to locally sourced food and beverages, spring is the perfect time to explore this island paradise.

This May, indulge your senses in everything Greater Victoria has to offer. From fragrant gardens to locally sourced food and beverages, spring is the perfect time to explore this island paradise. Read on for our top 10 things to do in Victoria this May and let your imagination run wild.


1. Embark on a Food & Drink Tour

Set out on a journey through Greater Victoria’s food & drink scene with tours for every type of traveller! From lively bicycle pub crawls with The Rolling Barrel and Victoria Pedal Tours, to Hidden Victoria’s famous ‘Pickle Pub Crawl’, Victoria’s downtown core is a craft beer lover’s dream. For additional options, check out Canadian Craft Tours for a variety of local excursions from breweries and wine to cider and spirits.

For a touch of elegance, LA Limousines offers luxury wine tours to some of the finest establishments in the region. Enjoy Greater Victoria’s peak spring weather as nature flourishes around every corner—because after all, it’s this same natural beauty behind the creation of your favourite fermentations.


2. Explore Local Gardens

Discover a world of floral beauty at The Butchart Gardens, one of Greater Victoria’s most iconic attractions. Filled with fresh and vibrant flora, you’ll experience an explosion of spring blooms in May, making it a particularly magical time to visit. Home gardeners will especially be mesmerized by the sheer number of blooming tulips!

Not to be missed, The Gardens at HCP offers a smaller but equally relaxing experience amidst native plant collections and themed gardens like their Japanese style Takata Garden. A non-profit powered by students and volunteers, you’ll feel especially great learning about the HCP’s background.


3. Celebrate Mother’s Day

Celebrate Mother’s Day with a trip to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, an indoor tropical oasis that’s perfect for families. Moms get in for free on May 12 so be sure to stop in for a Mother’s Day Flower Event from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Bannockburn Farm is also taking reservations for its 2nd annual Mother’s Day Heritage Garden Tea on May 11 & 12, with three time slots available: 10am, noon and 2pm. For a musical outing, the Victoria Conservatory of Music is hosting a Musical Garden Tour at 10 gardens across Greater Victoria—learn more here.

If you’re looking for a memorable meal before setting off for the day, both Fathom and the Oak Bay Beach Hotel are featuring Mother’s Day Brunch Buffets (visit the links to make a reservation). And for a fun snack on the go, stop by Ooh La La Cupcakes for a new holiday creation: Raspberry Rosewater.

Travelling from Washington State? Black Ball Ferry Line is offering a Mother’s Day getaway package for the entire month of May, which includes round trip ferry tickets, a stay at the Royal Scot Hotel & Suites, and chocolates + a card for mom in the room. Visit Black Ball’s website for more information.


4. Visit a Museum

Looking for a glimpse into the past? You’ve come to the right city! For airplane enthusiasts, the BC Aviation Museum is a must-see. Filled with aircrafts, artifacts and historical archives, this museum offers a comprehensive history of aviation in the province.

For an up-close and personal encounter with some of nature’s most magnificent creatures, check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. On until June 2, you won’t want to miss this stunning exhibition with images from across the world.

Finally, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia is currently showcasing “No Walk in the Woods: The History of the West Coast Trail”. Offering a peek into the history of one of Vancouver Island’s most popular hiking destinations, this exhibit tells the evolution of a once narrow track and its development up until present day.



5. Join in the Victoria Day Parade & Awakening Chinatown Festival

On May 20, join the celebrations at the Thrifty Foods 124th Victoria Day Parade! Starting at 9:00 AM at Douglas and Finlayson, this tradition brings the entire city together for artistic expression with floats, music and dance. To register or learn more, visit the Greater Victoria Festival Society’s website.

Celebrate the vibrancy and resilience of Chinese heritage at the 3rd annual Awakening Chinatown Festival on May 26 from 12:00-5:30 PM. Free to attend, this festival includes traditional Chinese dance performances, arts and crafts, games and more! Learn more here.


6. Experience the Victoria Highland Games & Ironman Victoria

Celebrate Scottish and Celtic music, dance and sport on May 18 & 19 at the 161st Victoria Highland Games at Topaz Park—the longest-running Highland Games in North America. In addition to witnessing the athletic spectacles on display, attendees can enjoy musical performances and workshops. Children under 12 get in for free, so be sure to bring the whole family!

Following the Highland Games, Ironman 70.3 Victoria is set for May 26. The event begins with a swim at Elk Lake, followed by a cycling route to the north end of the Saanich Peninsula and back, ending back at Elk Lake for the running portion. Witness an event that tests the limits of human endurance in a pristine natural setting.


7. Venture through Fisherman’s Wharf

A late spring trip to Victoria wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf and a bite to eat at Barb’s Fish & Chips. Recently named the winner of Heinz’s “West Coast Hidden Gem”, Barb’s has been a staple in Victoria’s culinary scene for more than 40 years.

In addition to May offering some of Victoria’s most comfortable weather, it’s also prime Halibut season which means the catches will be fresh and marine life will be at its most lively. For another food option while strolling through the colourful area, be sure to check out Finest at Sea for a proper maritime experience with in-season spot prawns.


8. Attend a Farmers Market

Warm weather means that markets are popping up across the city, including some of the region’s most popular mainstays. Be sure to stop by one of these regular events for an opportunity to connect with the local artisan community.


9. Go on a Walking Tour

Learn about Victoria’s history on foot with Discovery Walks and Toonie Tours Victoria, both offering insights on local legends and hidden gems. Come See Victoria is also a fantastic walking tour that focuses on history and architecture, with tours ranging from 1.5-2 hours. Starting this month, Canadian War History Tours will be launching military history tours in Victoria, with full- and half-day options.


10. Go Paddleboarding

For some leisurely exercise or afternoon tranquility, stand-up paddleboarding in Victoria’s calm inlets is an unmatched experience. Rentals and tours are available through South Island SUP and Ocean River Sports, as well as Pacifica Paddle Sports up in Brentwood Bay. Wherever you choose to explore, Greater Victoria’s raw natural beauty is sure to inspire. As we approach the longest day of the year, May also boasts some of the longest sunsets of the year, making your evening paddle truly memorable.

a walking tour in Chinatown
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Victoria is synonymous with exploration. A coastal city embedded in a stunning natural landscape, the southern-most part of Vancouver Island is a masterful infusion of culture, nature, and culinary delights. From iconic tours to uncharted adventures, Greater Victoria has so much to discover.

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Destination Greater Victoria is honoured to be based on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples of the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.